By Chris Gill
In 1993 Mark Baier started the Victoria Amp Company to produce faithful recreations of Leo Fender’s beloved Fifties tweed amplifiers. Victoria immediately impressed vintage amp collectors and enthusiasts with their authentic tweed tones, earning the company a reputation as a maker of some of the best tweed “clones” available on the market today.
While Baier’s accurate tweed reproductions still make up the bulk of his business, in recent years he has expanded the Victoria amp line with several original designs, like the VIC 105 (housed in an Army .50-caliber ammunition can) and the Victorilux.
Victoria’s new Silver Sonic model can best be described as a sort of hybrid between a narrow panel 5E3 Deluxe and a 1958-60 5F6-A Bassman with tube reverb and harmonic filter vibrato added to provide a full range of classic tones and textures. The heart of the amp is a 5F6-A circuit that uses 6V6 tubes (instead of 5881s or 6L6s) to provide 20 watts of output housed in an oversized, almost square pine cabinet covered with two-tone Tolex and featuring a single 12-inch Victoria speaker. Other features include two inputs, three-band EQ, and a footswitch jack for controlling vibrato and reverb.
The Silver Sonic sounds like a slightly smaller Bassman but with looser bass and more pronounced, focused midrange. It has much more clean headroom and less raunchy distortion than a Deluxe, and the addition of sweet tube reverb and the psychedelic throbbing warble of true vibrato make the Silver Sonic a much more versatile gigging or recording amp than any of Leo’s original tweeds. Victoria has combined the best of Fender’s Fifties and Sixties amps in a compact combo that provides a library of classic guitar tones, from jazz and country to blues and rock.
List Price: $3,395
Victoria Amp Co., victoriaamp.com